Thursday, December 29, 2011

Homemade Christmas: An Apple a Day

Hello and Merry Christmas! I hope everyone had a amazing celebration. Christmas was so much fun this year, as our kids are getting old enough now that they understand a bit more of what it is all about. We celebrated our very first Christmas in our own home - we've always travelled to grand-parents - but this year they came to us. It was wonderful. I don't think we'll ever go back to travelling during the holidays.

Anyway, I have another homemade Christmas present to show and tell before the year is out. My mom was a high-school teacher for 30+  years, so I decided to make her an apple mini quilt. I was inspired by Tamiko's Pillow, so I used her paper piecing pattern and fussy cut apple fabrics for the centre.

An Apple a Day Mini Quilt

It took me a bit to get the paper piecing down, I'm by no means an expert, but once I figured it out, I loved how precise I could get each block.

An Apple Close-Up

Unfortunately, I didn't get it finished before my mom arrived, so I had to work on it in front of her. I did manage to finish hand-sewing the binding on Christmas Eve so it could go under the tree.

I had so much fun swapping for the different apple fabrics on flickr. Sometimes I find the process of tracking down different fabrics and prints almost as much fun as making the quilt itself.

Our company left Boxing Day, and we're now enjoying family time. We've been x-country skiing, skating on the outdoor rink and 10-pin bowling. And of course watching cheesy Christmas movies. I hope you are enjoying your family time too!

Monday, December 5, 2011

My Stocking and a WIP

I had a couple of questions from my last post about my own stocking since it wasn`t hanging from the mantle. I`ve had the same stocking since I was a baby, and it`s looking a little bit rough. But I`m sentimental. So I`m keeping it.

Yup, I really was called Barbie as a kid.

And here is another homemade Christmas present in the works. My daughter asked for a Oliver + S messenger bag. Then she found my stash of Amy Butler Love FQs. I`m having so much fun on this one,  and since I only had FQs, it will be a scrappy bag. I`m just waiting to pick up some strap hardware before I can go any further.

What are you working on

Friday, December 2, 2011

Handmade Christmas: Stockings

Stocking are one of my favourite Christmas projects. And since it is Little Miss S's first Christmas, I worked hard last week to make her one before December 1st.

Inspired by Camille's stockings, I dug out a 12 Days of Christmas charm pack from my stash (there may be more, wink, wink), and added some Bliss, Amy Butler and Cosmo Cricket, and started cutting hexes. I used the same template as for this little quilt, and pieced the hexagons with the machine. Then for the shape, I traced around the stocking I made for my son three years ago.

Here's all of the stockings hung up on the mantle. (Note to self: Decorate mantle for Christmas). These four stockings really show my progression as a quilter. I made the first one for my husband 9 years ago back when I thought that fabric only came in country colours. I also followed the pattern exactly as I was terrified and lacking the skills to just wing it like I did with this last one.

As I look at this group of stockings, part of me is so tempted to remake the first three in more modern colours and patterns. I know that as a group they don't 'go.' But the reality is that none of my house 'goes' together. I'm a terrible interior designer because a) I'm a terrible planner and fly by the seat of my pants b) I'm a procrastinating perfectionist and I always feel like there is something better out there and c) I'm cheap.

But when we hung up the stockings yesterday, my oldest two kids were so, so, so excited to see their stockings with their names on them again. The kids don't care if the stockings coordinate. To them, they are special because their mommy made them, and of course, I'm not kidding myself, because Santa fills them with lovely toys.

So I'm resisting to modernize the stockings. We'll just have to go with an eclectic theme for Christmas this year. And every year from now on.

What about you? Do all of your decorations match or are you eclectic like me?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Handmade Christmas Part 1

One of the blogs that I just started to read is encouraging readers to take the commercialism out of Christmas by making, thrifting or buying homemade presents this year (craft fairs, etsy, etc). She even has a pledge. I love, love, love the idea of giving "gifts that are unique, meaningful and full of love" rather than something bought just to cross the name off the list.

When I suggested to my husband that we take the pledge, he actually said, "But I like new things." Hmmm. And if I let myself admit it, I do too. So I've decided to have a mostly, okay, somewhat homemade Christmas. I'll make presents for people that actually appreciate them, like my mom and my sister, and buy presents for those that like new. Like my husband.

So, my first homemade gift this year is for my sister. She recently decided to go back to school to become a nurse (a life-long dream and I am so proud of her). She had to move away from the house she owns and live in a little rental apartment. She told me it needed a little brightening up. So I dug into my scrap bins and I'm giving her some bright!

First is a patchwork bath mat. I used 3" squares and an old towel for the backing. Easy peasy.

Then I made some hand-towels to match.

Finally, because the kitchen needed some love too, I made a couple of patchwork dish towels.

Little sister done. Now I just have to wrap, pack and mail before Christmas. Isn't that the hard part?

What about you? Are you having a homemade Christmas?

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Family Day

Today is Remembrance Day here in Canada. Along with taking the time to remember the horrible consequences of war and praying for peace, today is a much needed family day for us.

So today I am:

...baking yummy cinnamon buns. Thank you Pioneer Woman.

...teaching my 5-year old how to make paper snowflakes.

...creating homemade Christmas presents.

...listening to haunting war and peace songs on the Folk/Roots station

...loving my beautiful family.

...remembering my amazing maternal grandparents, who put their lives on hold to serve in the Canadian Air Force in WW2. My grandfather was stationed in India, and my grandmother worked as a dietitian in a Montreal hospital. Thankfully they both returned safely to Canada, and I am so proud of their contribution.

How are you spending your Remembrance Day?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Recap

Three kids ready to Trick or Treat. And only one angry Tinkerbell.

We survived Halloween for another year. I must admit, there were times last night when I asked myself "Why the hell am I doing this?" Especially when I had to bribe the kids to wear the costumes I made for them.

A little spider with 8 eyes.

My son only lasted in his "mama-made" costume for about 30 seconds. Just long enough to snap this photo. At least he is smiling. I made the costume from the cutest book, Cute and Easy Costumes for Kids by Emma Hardy. I used black dobby minky for the body and leg warmers from the Dollar Store for the legs. My kids love the show, Wild Kratts, and they learned that spiders have eight eyes, so I made him a hat with a Dollar Store toque and Styrofoam balls. Unfortunately, the legs were pretty awkward and heavy and he hated it. So he trick or treated in a hand-me-down, store-bought, made in China lion costume. Admittedly, he looked pretty cute, and at least he was warm and comfortable.


And then there was my oldest daughter, who's Tinkerbell costume almost put me over the edge (thanks for all the kind words of support...I needed it). She was so upset that I forgot to make her pompom shoes (I even bought the pompoms, but do you think I can find them anywhere? It is terrible cleaning up for house showings....sometimes things just get thrown anywhere so the house at least looks clean). She was a trooper though and didn't even complain about the cold. She didn't wear it to school as she opted for her store-bought, made in China dress-up purple Fairy costume instead. Do you sense a trend?

But after all the costume drama, the kids had a wonderful time and were so excited to visit our friends and neighbours.

My 5-year old matched the pairs of fabrics for the bunting.
My only other Halloween craft this year was a quick and easy Halloween Bunting. I bought 2 kits from the amazing Amy at Diary of a Quilter. My oldest daughter sorted the fabrics into pairs, and then decided the order for me. I used Amy's tutorial to make the bunting, but I made my own binding strips out of Kona Black as I didn't have any store-bought and the baby was sleeping when I was putting it all together. My advice: don't wake a sleeping baby to buy craft supplies. She gets woken up enough with all of our back and forth trips to school everyday. 

Halloween Bunting on my front door.

The bunting lived in our living room for a couple of days before I stuck it outside on Halloween. I'm pretty thrilled with how easy it was to make and how good it looks. Minimal input for maximum output. My kind of craft. I've already reserved a few Christmas bunting kits from Amy...

I love my new Halloween bunting.

For now, I am so thankful that Halloween is over. I'm going to have to rethink my costume making for next year. Perhaps we'll just keep it simple. Remind me of this next October, okay?

How was your Halloween. Did the kids wear your homemade costumes?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Halloween Sewing and a Rambling Rant

Tinkerbell almost defeated me, but with a little help from a friend, I've almost got her concured. The organza-on-the-bias hem was just about too much, so fortunately I got some help. I guess there is a reason that this blog is called "Quilting Barbie" and not "Sewing Barbie."

Tinkerbell Costume  - almost done!

And of course, this little costume would have been one-heck-of-a-bunch cheaper at Costco. But at least I can say it is Mama Made.

Now on to the spider....

And, if you're saying to yourself, "yes, if this blog is called Quilting Barbie, why the hell doesn't she quilt anymore?" you'd be asking the same question I've been asking for the last month. The truth is that we have our house on the market again. Hubby got a great job transfer to a town about an hour and a half south of here. He loves his job, I hate having to get the house ready for showings. Most of my sewing stuff is in the crawlspace, and the rest in jammed into a wardrobe in the sewing room. The lights are put away because they don't look pretty. The real estate agent says, "less is more." He clearly doesn't understand my fabric addiction.

I'm dreaming of quilting projects....Sometimes when I can't sleep I think about what I'm going to make next. Nevermind all the UFO's jammed into the damn crawlspace. Oops, I just said that okay? Sometimes I talk like the logger truck driver's daughter that I am. My mother would be disgusted. She is not a logging truck driver's daughter. But she married one....

I promise I will quilt again. And have photos to show. And I might even join a swap agian too (especially if the nice folks at the Pretty Little Pouch Swap would let me join their group...but I'm still waiting...)

If you are still reading this rant, thank you. I appreciate it. Are you sewig Halloween costumes?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

In the mood for fabric swapping....

I've really cut down on my online fabric was getting, well, ridiculous. After reading the fabulous book, Organized Simplicity, I've realized that I'm doing myself, or my family any good buying fabric just for the sake of buying it. I need to get my fabric purchasing compulsion under control.

But that doesn't mean I don't still want more/new fabric.

Joel Dewberry #JD-20 Woodgrain - up to 2 metres to swap

Since there haven't been any fun parcels arriving at my house, I think I need to swap some fabric again. Swapping fabric is just too much fun. I get the thrill of new fabric, without the guilt of buying it.

KJR  for Swap

Here are a couple of fabrics I've put into the swapping groups on flickr. But I'm adding more. Soon.

Sheri Berry - 1 metre for swap

So do you feel like swapping too?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

My assistant...

The Halloween costume production line is in full swing at my house.

Little Miss S supervises my cutting.

Thankfully, this year I have an assistant. Unfortunately, this assistant drools. All. The. Time. But we'll forgive her, right? She's still working on those first teeth. And she's oh, so cute!

Happy Thursday! Safe travels to all of you heading to the Sewing Summit. Wish I could join you. Take lots of photos, kay?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Hello Again!

Hmmm....where to start? I can't believe my last post was in June. June?!? Where did the summer go? Life is good up in Northern BC, even though we've had very little sun and lots of rain. Sometimes I feel like I'm back home at the coast (not that that is a bad thing. I love the coast....just maybe not all the rain).

Anyway, here's a snapshot of what I've been up to and what I've got planned:

  1. Spicing up the Kitchen Swap - I sent my partner some lovely HR hexagons, a pot holder and a basket. I received a lovely patchwork kitchen mat, and a tea towel from Jennspen. Thank you!
  2. Doll Quilt Swap 11 - I was pretty stumped by this one. I just couldn't seem to wrap my head around the new piecing only rules. I sent of some Canadian Flying Geese to my partner. Hopefully it will arrive soon.
  3. I've become obsessed with Waldorf Inspired Dolls. Especially from Fig & Me, Bamboletta and Tumbleberry Toys. Since I can't afford $200+ for a doll, I've decided to make my own. I've collected most of the supplies from here, and now I just have to find some time.
  4. I entered a few quilts into the Prince George Exhibition Quilt Show. It was the first time I've put any of my quilts in a show (I was too nervous last year), and it was fun to see my quilts hanging up. Unfortunately, I put all of the hanging sleeves too low so they flopped a bit at the top. Oops. I also volunteered to help out. 
  5. I'm getting geared up to do some back to school sewing. My oldest starts Kindergarten in September. Yikes!
  6. I'm trying to spend more time with my kids, and less time reading blogs (sorry). I just don't want to be like Elizabeth in The Help. 
  7. I really want to be a positive, pro-active and interactive parent. My new obsession with Waldorf Dolls has lead me to some wonderful mommy/green/crafting blogs. It's fun to read something new.
  8. I'm not sure what's in store for this old blog. Part of me thinks that the show and tell nature of it is tired. Especially when I never actually finish anything. We'll see.....
How's your summer? Do you have lots of plans for the fall


Thursday, June 30, 2011

I've discovered....

the cure to perfectionism!

1.  A two month old baby who loves to be held (and a mama who loves to hold her).

2.  In set seams. Enough said.

In set hard can they be?

3. And a deadline. I'm working on it. I promise.

A hot pad/table topper for my SUTK partner

Friday, June 24, 2011

Spicing Up the Kitchen

Even though I'm not doing much cooking these days, I still couldn't resist joining the SUTK Round 2 over on flickr. Last night, Little S actually slept during the evening, so I made this little basket for my partner. I've always wanted to make one, and it was so fun, so easy and turned out so cute. If my partner doesn't comment on it in the flickr pool, I just might keep it for myself.

Made from this tutorial from Pink Penguin. I don't think the handles are really different lengths in 'real life.'

Next up, one more item for my partner!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

My First Schnibble

We had a new niece born just 2 weeks after Susanna. I was hoping they'd have a little girl since they already have 2 boys, so I started a very girly quilt earlier this spring. Lucky for me the baby was a girl.

My First Schnibble Quilt is X-Rated!

The pattern is Shnibbles X-Rated. I used two April Cornell charm packs that my mom bought me a few years ago when her LQS closed. While the fabrics are lovely, they aren't really my style. But I think my sister-in-law will like it. I hope so anyway.


I really like this pattern. I'd love to make another sometime. But probably with bigger squares. There was a lot of piecing put into this tiny quilt.

I got some Valorie Wells fabric on sale at Christmas in Kamloops and it was perfect for the backing with the left-over charm packs. The label turned out to be super-sized for this size of quilt, but I stuck it on anyway. I thought about making a new one for about half a second. But honestly, who I am kidding...this quilt is lucky it got a label!

Quick Quilt Stats:

Size: 31"' x 31"
Pattern: Schnibbles X-Rated
Fabric: Little Romance by April Cornell (Moda)

I'll leave you with a photo of the lily of the valley that is finally in bloom in my yard. Let's just say that we are weeks behind this year. But the Canucks are playing for the Stanley Cup, so I can't really complain, can I?

Lily of the Valley

Now do I dare pop this quilt in the mail? Or is a mail strike looming?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Susanna's Quilt

The lovely Susanna is now one month really is crazy how fast time flies. To be honest, I just adore this little girl. And so do her big sister and brother.

Sweet Susanna!

I did actually make her a quilt before she was born. Before we found out that she was a little girl. It is pretty gender neutral. In some ways, I wish I could go back in time and make it a little more feminine. It would have been a great excuse to actually cut into my HR Far Far Away. Anyway, here it is...

Susanna's Quilt

I started collecting blue/aqua and yellow fabrics as soon as I found out I was pregnant. Let's just say that this part of my stash is now overflowing. I decided to make a very simple quilt as my pregnancy brain couldn't handle much more. Each block has a fussy cut centre of some of my favourite fabrics.

My favourite block

I backed the quilt with a cozy Robert Kaufman flannel. I bought it at our local LQS and it cost me an arm and a leg. (No really, it was tres, tres cher...). But it was worth it. It is so, so, so cozy.

Flannel backing

I just quilted it with simple diagonal straight lines. At first I was disappointed that I cut through the centre of each square with my quilting lines...wasn't there a reason that I fussy cut all of those centres??? but now that it is done and washed, I've come to terms with it and I'm pretty happy.

1 month old already!      

And now just a bit of may have noticed that this blog was pretty silent during the SMS Give-away Day (the first I've missed since I started this blog). I decided not to participate this time around, but I will have a give-away very soon. Any suggestions on what you'd like to win? 

Happy Thursday!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Oh Susanna!

Thank you to everyone for your kind comments. I'm sorry I haven't responded to all of you, but I trust that you understand and you'll forgive my rudeness. Life with 3 kids under 5 years old, is well, busy. But Susanna is sleeping pretty well during the day so I've had lots of time to spend with her big sis and big bro.

Sweet Susanna - 6 days old

In March, I was lucky enough to win a beautiful charm pack from Corey, aka Little Miss Shabby.

Beautiful Charm Pack from Little Miss Shabby

My original plan was to make a little quilt for the NICU ward at the hospital (our guild provides quilts for all preemie babies born in Prince George). However, when I made that plan I was convinced this baby was a boy. Now that she's here, I just can't resist the gorgeous prints Corey sent. So, I started sewing them together last night and I'm going to make Susanna a quick patchwork quilt.

Doesn't Susanna look sweet on her quilt?

And since I'm using Corey's charms for Susanna, I promise to use my own fabrics to make a preemie quilt too. They are small (max 30" square) so I don't think it is too crazy of a plan.

Thanks Corey for the beautiful fabric.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Easter Baby!

Introducing Susanna!

Born Easter Sunday at 5:10 pm. 7lbs, 10 oz.

We are loving life with our sweet little girl. More photos soon. (And yes, I'm more than a little excited for the future filled with pink sewing...)

Thursday, April 21, 2011


When I started this blog, I considered it as a way of documenting my hobby. I never could have imagined that I would make friends...honest, to goodness, friends...from my blog. But I have. And I've also rediscovered the kindness of people all over this beautiful world of ours.

I returned home from my first-ever quilt retreat last weekend to find a parcel from Darci. She told me she was sending me a little something for participating in her interview with a sewer series so I decided to save it until the kids were asleep so I could enjoy my package.

Baby Quilt from Darci

But never in a million years did I expect what what was inside. Darci made our new baby a beautiful quilt. Isn't it gorgeous?

Close-up...Aren't those little squares yummy?

The colours match my nursery perfectly. I'd admired them over on flickr, but never thought they'd be for me! Check out how it coordinates with my new moses basket bedding!

The quilt works perfectly with the new Moses Basket bedding.

Thank you so much Darci. I was overcome with emotion when I opened your parcel. It is the first gift our new baby has received, and I will treasure it. And use it. The quilt is the perfect size for the carseat, stroller and as a floor quilt. You are so sweet to think of us.

I appreciate your gift, but I value your friendship more.

Happy Easter everyone!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


My gorgeous Doll Quilt arrived yesterday. It took my breath away. Honestly. I am stunned by how gorgeous it is.

Doll Quilt Swap 10, Made by Janet (What Comes Next)

Janet, What Comes Next, made me the perfect quilt. It blends tradition with modern fabrics and a colour scheme that I adore. And the quilting is amazing. Really amazing. Janet's workmanship is absolutely outstanding.

Check out that quilting...perfect!

Janet also included some amazing goodies. Look at the pattern for those cute little baby bloomers...don't you think my baby needs a pair or two? She also included some lovely fabric and a tiny little scissors case.

Spoiled me...I'm bringing those scissors and case to Quilt Retreat this weekend.

It was also a shock to receive a Doll Quilt from someone right here in BC. Usually I get swaps from Texas, Florida, or even Australia. It feels like Janet is a friend already, just by the fact that we live in the same province. 

I couldn't resist one more shot of the quilting. Janet even used different colour thread. Ahh....I love it.

Thanks so much, Janet. I love it!